Dear Justice Cohen,
I would like to express my gratitude to you for reopening the Commission in light of the new ISAv evidence that has come forward. It is exactly what I'd expect of a fair and impartial judge -- we need to get to the bottom of this issue and do it for the future generations of Canadians living on this coast, and for no one else. Please do take the evidence seriously and keep the Precautionary Principle in mind -- if there is even a higher-than-slight chance that Pacific salmon are at risk, we must do all we can to drive that risk to zero. The stakes are just too high for us to do anything less.
I grew up in Victoria, and enjoyed many summers boating and fishing with my parents all around Vancouver Island. Salmon fishing was, and still is, a big part of our enjoyment of all this beautiful coast has to offer. We depend on wild salmon as a healthy local food source every year, and we have noticed a marked decline in catch within the Broughton Archipelago area versus Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island (these are the two areas we have frequented over the past 15 years). Alexandra Morton is onto something -- we have seen the higher numbers of sea lice on salmon we've caught in the Broughtons, and we have seen the fish farms invade every last protected inlet and bay there and in Clayoquot Sound. Aside from taking away any feeling of being alone in Nature by their presence, which I have learned to get used to, I can NOT get used to the idea of losing our wild salmon, and the inevitable ecosystem collapse that will follow.
I am at a point in my life where I am unsure whether to have children, unsure of whether there will be anything preserved in this world for me to share with them that the pollution and greed of older generations has not destroyed. This economic system is collapsing upon itself, and those with money and power are trying to squeeze every last bit of worth out of our natural resources and workforce while they still can, and weakening environmental and labour regulations are allowing them to get away with it. This is a very dangerous time for species and ecosystems that sit on the brink of survival. We need strong moral vision to protect them now, in the hope that there will be something left for us when we begin the process of (re)building a more just, equitable, and sustainable economic system.
One last point - I attended two days of the first round of the Cohen Commission when I was able to be in Vancouver. I am disappointed that I will not be able to attend any of this round, but urge you to please allow live video streaming of the upcoming sessions. This is too important to have only a select few able to hear and see the evidence for themselves. Reporting through the media is nowhere near sufficient, and subject to bias, omission, and government pressure. This is a public inquiry funded by taxpayers. I understand that there are even offers by independent journalists to provide live video streaming at no charge. There is simply no excuse not to allow it to take place.
Thank you very much,